Increasing your website performance

website performance

In this topic I will get into the world of website performance by addressing the benefits of increasing the performance and some tooling too accomplish the increasing of your website performance. All this is based on own experiences.

The days of ‘flat-HTML’ websites are far behind us. Nowadays a CMS is doing all the magic. There is nothing wrong with using a CMS of course, but you will have to tweak it a lot to increase the performance.

Benefits of a good website performance

It is obvious that the most important benefit of a good performing website is user experience. You will have the change that users will revisit your website for whatever reason, because of a good user experience. But did you also know that a good performing website is also important four your pagerank? Besides a good implemented SEO, a good performing website also influences your pagerank.

But what is ‘good’?… It is a vage definition; For you it can be good, but for another is does not. Especially ‘for another it does not’, is the most important category to investigate for taking measures.

Who is your reference

For my website I took as a reference a smartphone user with an ‘average’ 4G connection. Based on these characteristics, I implemented some best practicing measures to increase my website performance. Somewhere you have to make concessions, because you do not want to lose functionality of your website.

There is a plugin for that

Some of the measures, like caching, concentrating code, optimise images can also be done by using plugins. The plugins mentioned below are plugins for WordPress and they are widely known. I will not recommend a certain plugin, I just name some plugins. By my believe the correct plugin is a personal choice.

  • Autoptimize: Optimizes your website, concatenating the CSS and JavaScript code, and compressing it.
  • ShortPixel Image Optimizer: ShortPixel optimizes images automatically, while guarding the quality of your images.
  • W3 Total Cache: W3 Total Cache improves the SEO and user experience of your site by increasing website performance, reducing download times via features like content delivery network (CDN) integration.

Other measures besides plugins

Besides the use of plugins, you have more options. For example you can adjust your .htaccess file to enable mod_gzip, or mod_deflate, or ob_gzhandler. See http://www.inmotionhosting.com/support/website/what-is/how-to-enable-gzip-moddeflate for more info. Beside making use of compression, setting the expiration is also a good thing to do (Add Expires headers). Perhaps you will have the option to use proxy-service like Varnish. Varnish Cache is a web application accelerator also known as a caching HTTP reverse proxy. The more privileged website owners can maken use of Content Delivery Network (CDN). For my own website I make use of the free CDN from Cloudflare. This free plan offers load balancing and DDoS mitigation. For small websites like this one, this is enough. If you have a bigger website with more network traffic and visitors, have a look at the other plans they are offering.

Conclusion

As you can see a higher pagerank is not just only a good implementation of your SEO, but moreover a good website performance. If you have taken your measures it is wise to measure it. There are a lot of online tools available to measure your website loading speed/performance. The two I find the best (just a personal opinion) are:

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